Daughter of a Daughter of a Queen

Written by Sarah Bird
Review by Nicole Evelina

Based on a little-known piece of history, this book tells the story of Cathy Williams, the only woman to ever serve with the Buffalo Soldiers, a group of black cavalrymen who fought in the Indian Wars in post-Civil War America. When Cathy, the strong, outspoken, and proud granddaughter of an African queen, is shuffled from bondage in the South into service with General Philip Henry Sheridan toward the end of the war, she learns just how hard being off the plantation can be, especially for a black woman. But luckily for her, she is rather androgynous in appearance and is often mistaken for a boy which, combined with the General’s favor, helps her survive where other women have not. At the end of the war, she faces an uncertain future and makes the bold choice of disguising herself as a man and enlisting with the Buffalo Soldiers. What follows is an unlikely two-year adventure with a mysterious twist that has been lost to the pages of history. Until now.

Even when you are an avid reader, there are only rare occasions when a book lives up to being called an epic, immersive adventure. Daughter of a Daughter of a Queen is one of only five books I can think of that deserve that accolade, especially given that the author had so little actual history around which to build her sweeping tale. This book is a feat of imagination and novel craft that sweeps you away into another world from the first page. It is meticulously researched and detailed, even down to dialect. The author brings to life a side of the Civil War and Indian Wars rarely touched upon in fiction. Very highly recommended.